Adding Summer Annuals to Your Pastures

A grazier's dream pasture would deliver just like the post office:  "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays this pasture from turning forage into meat and/or milk."  We all want a pasture that comes back year after year, so we grow and maintain perennial species.  But when we're in the middle of summer, and it's hot and dry, perennials may not do the job.  In addition, for those of us running dairies from our pasture we want forage that maintains high protein and digestibility so we can keep milk production up, and enough that we can store forages to get us through the winter. That's where summer annuals can help. Summer annuals are drought tolerant, which can be helpful during long periods with no rain. They can fill in during the July and August summer slump when perennials aren't producing as well. Because of their rapid growth, summer annuals can outcompete weed species, providing another weapon in the arsenal against different invasive species. Summer annuals help with risk management because they can be used in a variety of ways.  Use them as forage to graze, or harvest them for silage, baleage,  grain or seed. Popular summer annuals are sorghum, sudangrass, sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, Pearl millet, Japanese millet, and corn. There's also a new entrant in the assortment, teff, that comes to us from Ethiopia.  Which should you choose?  We'd love to give you that answer, but each of our readers has a different operation with differ

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